|A man with a chainsaw, lower center, works on clearing an area in the Ashland Creek watershed building up a stock of downed logs that will be carried away later by helicopter. Photo: Bert Etling, Ashland Daily Tidings|
Faced with steeper slopes in the upper reaches of the Ashland Creek watershed, forest managers are reaching deeper into their toolbox so they can thin the thatch of forest growth matting hillsides. Using helicopters is more expensive and noisier than other methods, but causes less damage to habitat foresters are trying to improve.
Within the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project (Oregon), a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, the city of Ashland, The Nature Conservancy, and Lomakatsi, more than 4,000 of the 7,600 acres in the project area have been restored.
Hand crews and trucks usually handle the work. Helicopters are called in on steeper slopes to reduce the on-ground impact. Reducing those impacts are mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. In land-based logging, fallen logs are pulled up slopes. That becomes impractical anytime the slope exceeds 20 degrees. Read more here.